Where your money goes the farthest but still stays home

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Bill Chanatry in front of Meat Case
Chanatry's Supermarkets Inc. owner Bill Chanatry photographed in the store, Wednesday, May 20, 2009 in New Hartford. "Meat is our forte," he said.

UTICA — In about a week, Bill Chanatry will turn 80.

The year he was born, Herbert Hoover was president and the stock market crashed. It was 1929.


Name: Bill Chanatry.

Title: Sole owner and chief executive officer. (Mark Chanatry is president). Length of time at company: Bill Chanatry began working part time with the company in 1957. He switched to full time with the company in 1991, upon retiring from General Electric in Utica.

Appointed CEO: 1998. At that time, Bill Chanatry purchased all the part-owners’ interest in the company and bought them out.

Education: Graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is a civil engineer.


History: Chanatry’s Supermarket was founded by Bill’s two uncles, Raymond and Rocky Chanatry, and his father, Michael Chanatry, in 1912. The supermarket opened in Utica on Bleecker Street in a storefront building.

Location: 485 French Road.

Number of employees: Approximately 200.

Annual revenues: $30 million.


Today, America has made history with its presidency and continues to make history with an ever-changing economy.


Throughout the years, though, Chanatry and his store — Chanatry’s Supermarket — have remained constant.

“That’s our dedication,” he said.

Chanatry still pulls a car into a parking spot at his well-known French Road supermarket, which was started by his two uncles and father in 1912.

Running the supermarket has been a family affair for nearly 100 years.

Chanatry’s wife and three of his five children work at the store, and none get free food, he said.

“No, not even me,” he said. “So we set an example.”

And Chanatry has a vision for the next few years for the store.

“To continue being the best of the best, and perhaps making our store a little bit bigger,” he said. (The store already is 50,000 square feet.)

So when’s he going to retire? Or is he?

“I don’t know,” Chanatry said. “When God says so.”

Besides, he’s having too much fun.

“Some call what I do work, but I really have a ball because I normally do not stay beyond noon,” he said.

The joke right now is that Mark Chanatry, 44, Chanatry’s president, will retire before his dad.

Copyright 2009 The Observer-Dispatch, Utica, New York. Some rights reserved.